RAA is urging drivers to be vigilant as thousands of students embark on a new school year and traffic volumes increase from today.
The call for caution comes as latest records reveal 258 pedestrians and 251 cyclists under the age of 18 were involved in road crashes between 2016 and 2020 – with 37 per cent of these collision occurring between the hours of 8 to 9am and 3 to 4pm.
RAA Senior Manager of Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said traffic volumes would begin to grow as the staggered return to class of all students due to Covid-19 restrictions occurs in the next fortnight, and he reminded drivers of the need to be vigilant, especially around schools.
“We’d expect the roads to start to return to usual traffic conditions, so it’s a good idea to allow yourself a few extra minutes to reach your destination, particularly if you’re doing a school drop-off as well,” Mr Mountain said.
“Remember that school zones require drivers to reduce their speed to 25 kilometres per hour whenever children are present, even outside of normal drop-off and pick-up times.”
He also urged parents to be mindful of their driving in busy areas around schools.
“If parents are dropping their children off or picking them up by car during peak periods, they should keep in mind usual parking restrictions, so they don’t block driveways or park too close to intersections.
Mr Mountain said there was often confusion between ‘no parking’ and ‘no stopping’ signs, with the latter implying that drivers can’t stop or park under any circumstances.
He said ‘no parking’ signs do allow the driver to stop for up to two minutes to drop off or pick up passengers or goods, provided they stay within 3m of the car.
“School crossings will also be back in operation from 31 January which means drivers will need to slow down to 25 km/hr if flashing lights or orange flags are displayed,’’ he said.
“Road users should always be alert and prepared to stop to allow children to cross the road safely.”
Mr Mountain said that transporting children safely in vehicles was also an often-overlooked part of the school drop-off process for parents. According to recent data from RAA’s Child Safety Centre, almost 90% of child restraints are either not fitted or used correctly.
RAA is now calling on the State Government, ahead of the State Election in March, to reform child restraint legislation to improve protection for children.
“It’s crucially important for motorists to ensure they not only provide children with a restraint that’s suitable based on their size and age, but one that’s fitted and adjusted correctly as well,” he said.
“A child who is restrained properly will be in a much safer position in the car, and much less likely to be injured in the event of a crash.”
For more advice about child restraints, visit raa.com.au/childsafety.